Shell Island: A World Away

After an event at SM Seaside City Cebu, a friend and I decided to visit the small sea-side park near the South Road Properties (SRP) entrance.  The park offers an amazing view of the Mactan Channel and is frequented by those who want to ‘escape’ the busy weekend traffic in the city. My friend said he had his drone with him and he thought that the park was just the perfect spot to do it.

It was past 4 pm when we arrived at the park. There were few people around and the sky was just starting to turn orange. It was perfect timing! My friend was busy setting up his drone when a small motorized banca docked right in front of us. The boat was from the island just across the channel. Suddenly, as though a light bulb lit up right in front of us, my friend and I both looked at the boat and at each other. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” he said. And I definitely was!

After a very quick negotiation with the boat guy, we were on our way to Shell Island. He agreed to take us to Shell Island for 50 pesos each. Not bad! At all!

Less than 2 minutes later, we were on Shell Island. This wasn’t my first time on the island. I vividly remember the first time I went there. It was one of those trips with the whole family. I remember getting on a boat and trying to keep a plastic bag from sticking to my slippers. I remember riding on my dad’s back when the tide unexpectedly rose. I even remember seeing my mom fuming when seawater flooded the boat and ruined our food. I know this was ages ago but when I set foot on the island for the first time in 30 years, everything just came flooding back.

We landed right in front of this dilapidated structure right next to the water. If I am not mistaken, this is the only structure on the island. At least right before the construction of the third bridge began. And based on the things I saw inside, it’s safe to say that someone or some people still currently live inside.

Shell Island is only about two minutes from Cebu City. Despite the distance, being on the island feels like you are actually worlds away. It’s amazing.

This half-sunken ship is situated in the shallow water right next to the wharf. This is the same ship that can be seen when traveling along the SRP viaduct.

Shell Island is actually made up of several islands. The biggest one is where this structure is located. Behind the structure is a huge clearing. We didn’t go there, however, because a few minutes after we arrived, a guy came out from the ‘house’ and told us that the island was off limits to the public. We had to tell him that we will be gone as soon as we finished taking photos and drone shots. Thankfully, the guy allowed us to finish what we were doing. Thank you, sir!

An inter-island vessel slowly makes its way to the Cebu City port via the Mactan Channel.

A portion of the wharf has been transformed into a basketball court. Now it’s quite certain that there are many people on the island.

Here is a view of the sunken ship and the island of Mactan behind it.

Construction of the third Mactan bridge is now in full swing. I believe one of the piers of the bridge will be erected on Shell Island.

This scene is quite sad. Look at all the trash from the neighboring cities and islands.

Full view of the Shell Island wharf.

Here is a close up of the sunken ship right next to the wharf.

I believe the name of the ship is M/T Golden Canada

15 minutes later, my friend finally said that he was done. And two minutes later, we were on our way back to the other side. Big thanks to the kind guard and to our boat guy who helped us safely cross the channel.


The Ang Pangulo is docked right next to the Malacanan sa Sugbo. If I’m not mistaken, this is the official ship of the President of the republic.

For those who wish to visit Shell Island, I suggest you ask for proper permission first so that there won’t be any problem during your visit. That is, if you will actually be given permission.

4 thoughts on “Shell Island: A World Away

  1. Every time I go through SRP this artificial island always catches my attention. Now I am curious of the old photos of this island. Despite being in bad condition, I hope the island could be converted into a natural sanctuary or somehow a monumental park like the Statue of Liberty upon the completion of the 3rd Bridge. Nice photos by the way. I am also curious of the other corners of the island.

    1. thanks. there was a plan before of building a sto. nino park on shell islands. too bad nothing happened. how something exciting is built there in the future.

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